Avatar should sort out their distribution times: two weeks after Ignition City #1 shipped, Ignition City #2 is scheduled to arrive in comics shops. As it is, UK didn’t get their consignment, which meant that I get a bit more breathing space until the next issue. However, for one of the smaller publishers, it’s not a smart to effectively dump onto the market the work of one of the most popular comic book writers who regularly works in the creator-owned and independent section of the market. Not that I’m telling William Christensen how to do his job or anything …
Detective Comics #853
A few weeks later than originally scheduled (to contrast with the point of my opening paragraph), this comic sees the concluding part of ‘Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?’, the two-part eulogy to Batman by Neil Gaiman and Andy Kubert. Having revealed in his Twitter feed that the person accompanying Batman in his journey after death in this story wasn’t Death herself, I immediately thought that it was his mother. And I was right. But that was the only good feeling I got from this book. The consensus from scanning the internet is that people enjoyed this story (even shedding manly tears at the ending) but it did absolutely nothing for me – there are nice references to old stories, some nice visual flourishes from Kubert, and a nice summing up of who Batman is, but it never felt like a special story or a touching tribute. It felt like padding, with the splash pages of saying goodbye (and then returning back to the beginning, as all stories about serial characters must do) – they even had to pad out the book itself with sketches. I’ll admit I may be missing something, but I should at least feel like a good story has been told. Which didn’t happen for me.
Ex Machina #41
Ex Machina continues its high level of quality of writing and art, although it is obvious that the book is heading towards the finish line as Mayor Hundred lays down a self-induced ultimatum and the plotting against him is given a boost. The two-edged sword of a good book with a fixed end in sight – finishing brings resolution and purpose to the story, but you’ll miss the quality and enjoyment – is one I shall try to cope with, but at least I know that it will go out on a high, even if Vaughan and Harris try to shock us with rather gruesome pages such as the full-page splash at the end of this book. Still, an entertaining book with a strong point of view and a message to convey that does well in the current market is something to be lauded.
Jack of Fables #33
Part two of The Great Fables Crossover sees Bigby and Snow visit Jack in his own book to get more information on the the threat to the characters. Seeing that the crossover is supposed to turn Fables readers into Jack of Fables readers, one would expect this issue to be the best issue of Jack of Fables possible. If that’s the case, the crossover has failed before it has begun – the reader is dumped unceremoniously into the middle of current Jack status quo, with all the characters that entails (it’s only from reading some of the trades that I don’t feel completely lost [my review of first trade] [my review of second trade]). The villain of the piece is shown to be dangerous but without a justification as to why it is specific to the Fables. As I mentioned before, the trouble I had with this book was my instant and continued dislike of the central character, and this hasn’t been changed on this reading. Yes, it’s funny for the fourth wall joke at the end, but that’s not enough for a book to survive (just ask She-Hulk or Ambush Bug). And what the hell was with that six-panel page of a pig talking in a foreign language and a small blue ox? Was he translating? Was there an in-joke I was missing? Do you want people to read this book? I’ll keep reading this for the crossover but I won’t be around afterwards.
No Hero #5
The new hero Josh, still suffering from the effects of the designer drug that gives him superpowers but that has also turned him into a freak, gets to feel like a hero after a walk through San Francisco, but things aren’t quite as simple as that. This is a very strange but very interesting story of a modern creation of superheroes by Ellis, which I’m enjoying but not loving. The ideas, execution and art are all good but it doesn’t connect in the same fashion as other Ellis works. The fact that it will be a complete story means that a resolution is coming and a sense of what it’s all about should emerge, but I don’t what that is yet.